Kiss the pinkie goodbye
The incredible story of 21-year-old Trevor Wikre has given a new meaning to an athlete playing through pain.
Wikre, a 6-3, 280-pound offensive lineman for Mesa State College, a Division II school in Grand Junction, Colo., fractured his right pinkie during a Sept. 30 practice after getting it caught in a teammate's jersey.
His first reaction after seeing his shattered pinky bone was to just ask the trainers to tape up the injury. After they refused, Wikre was sent to the hospital where doctors advised him to undergo season-ending surgery.
I wonder what his doctor was thinking when Wikre, an All-Rocky Mountain Conference guard, instructed him to amputate his finger so he wouldn't have to sit out his senior season.
"I'm a senior," said Wikre, in an interview with USA Today. "If they put pins in there, my career was finished. I told them to just take it off. They said I was being dramatic. I said, yeah, well, losing my season is dramatic, too.
"Even with the operation I was going to have trouble with it later in life. I think that's why they let me (have the amputation)."
I first heard about Wikre's saga as I was watching SportsCenter, which compared his injury to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Romo who is expected to miss four weeks after breaking his right pinky in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday.
It was a humorous but unfair comparison because Romo, a righty, handles the football on every play and has to throw through double-coverage to keep Terrell Owens happy. It would probably be amazing if Wikre was a center, running back or receiver but then again, linemen do have to rely on a proper stance and get a good push off the snap.
Wikre missed just one game and was back in the lineup for Mesa's 26-3 win last Saturday thanks to a rubber cast. Off the field, he admitted it was more difficult to handle pocket change, use a TV remote and type.
Last week I sprained my ankle and gashed my knee while I was running on a trail near my apartment, and I thought I had it bad because I had to clean gravel out of my knee and get a tetanus shot.
When I hear about stories like Wikre's, it just reminds me that there are people who go through situations much tougher than mine. And I hope Wikre and his Mavericks, who are 5-1 overall and undefeated in their conference, roll through their season and the playoffs – as long as they're not up against North Alabama.